Smallville: Last Impression
I feel like I've beaten the Smallville horse to death more than once already. Luckily for you all—my diehard fans in the virtual fandom—I found a Kryptonian crystal that allowed me to slip into an alternate universe where I had never raised pen or club against said horse. Hence I brought it back across the dimensions to you, to be beaten to death yet again and properly for your amusement. To be fair, however, my judgment on the series finale will be based mostly on just those two hours because I had stopped consistently watching the show after Lex was blown up in a warehouse by Green Arrow, and as such, I can not accurately comment on anything that occurred between those two points. Still, there's enough rotting horse meat in this episode to fill a review, and I intend to beat every last bit of it. I'll offer a warning here, that since the finale was weeks past its air date, I will be including spoilers in this rant. If you haven't seen it by now you either aren't interested in the show or you've heard enough about it from your friends that you never will, so I feel the same in discussing key plot and storyline points.
Let's begin with Darkseid and Apokolips. Darkseid, who in the comic books was the ultimate ruler of the planet Apokolips, and one of the strongest foes in the DC universe, was portrayed here as...I don't know....a puff of talking smoke that controlled the minds of the people it inhabited. Now, I'm aware that a true Darkseid story is probably not possible in a TV series, but this was just plain lame. So, the smoke monster from Lost, tired of working behind the scenes of an island paradise to take down Doctor Jack, emigrated to Metropolis to work behind the scenes of an urban jungle to take down a farm boy?
And how did Clark defeat him? All these machinations, all the plotting and scheming and he's defeated by having Clark fly at him? It was the worse big-boss fight on Smallville since Doomsday's duplex defeat. Once again Smallville manages to take an epic villain, one who Superman can not defeat in the comics and should promise a huge battle in the television show, but instead delivers a one move letdown. What was even worse about that fight was that Clark used the same move to defeat Darkseid as he did to get rid of Apokolips—a flying shoulder tackle.
And speaking of Apokolips, how was Clark able to stop it, really? I know he pushed it away, but is it believable that he is so indestructible as to push away a falling planet and land unscathed? Hell, his clothes weren't even singed. I've seen Clark in previous seasons get knocked through walls by other super powered villains, but a planet, falling at hundreds if not thousands of miles an hour is just casually deflected by a newly flying reporter? Maybe he didn't push it, maybe he just talked to it, made the planet see the error of its ways; after all, both Earth and Apokolips stood to be destroyed by a collision so it would be in Apokolips' best interest to just turn around and go home.
And speaking of—I say that a lot don't I—Apokolips, did anyone else really notice that a planet was about to fall upon them? Because from the massive amounts of dialogue that was going on, I really couldn't be sure if anyone else but me saw it. It was like, Hey there's a planet falling on our heads, the end of the world is coming...Clark, let's talk about our feelings, about how you're not really committed to this superhero thing, about how you need to embrace your true self, about the weather, about the Metropolis baseball team, about who does your hair. Is that your dad standing beside you? No, not your alien dad that talks to you from beyond the grave and gives you hauntingly current advise, your adopted earth father who talks to you from beyond the grave and gives you hauntingly current advise.
And speaking of ghost dads...what?
Now let's move on to something else, like Tess Mercer being related to Lex? I'm aware that this was not revealed in this episode, but I can't imagine any amount of build up making the name Loutessa acceptable. Couldn't they just have called her Louise, or Lisa with a middle name of Tessa? Was that really so hard. I just thought of that now as I was typing this rant, could a team of writers getting paid more than I'll ever see, really not have come up with something better or had they all simply given up years ago?
Now a couple of quick hits before I move onto my biggest disappointment about the series finale. First, Jimmy Olsen has a younger brother named Jimmy Olsen—Yes, I know the older Jimmy's middle name was Jimmy, but he went around calling himself by his younger brother's name just to explain how he could be killed and still be part of the Superman cannon—that's crappy writing. Two, why were Lois and Clark pretending not to be dating at the Daily Planet seven years later when they had no problem openly dating before that? Three, did anyone else hear Martha Kent say that Jonathan watches her when she's with another man? Four, why did getting punched in the face make Clark's life flash before his eyes?
Okay, now onto the big one. One word: Lex. When I heard that the original Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) was returning for the finale, I had to watch it, because the 'best friends turned enemies' motif has always been one of my favorites. It was not an option not to see how they ended—or began—the history of Clark and Lex. Well, first of all, for those that remember that Lex had supposedly died in an explosion and are now wondering how he survived., the answer is simple. He cloned a bunch of replacement Lex parts, slapped them together to rebuild himself. However, for some reason, with all that impossibly advanced technology, and perfect DNA matches, the heart was the only thing that he could not replace—cheesy metaphor! What was an arch villain to do? Go on a waiting list? Nope. Why bother with a waiting list when your back-from-the-dead father can just make a deal with Darkseid to give you his own heart. That's right, Lex's own, identical, heart, cloned from his own DNA is not a match, but a sixty year old man's heart, and a little alien fist through the chest action is just what Lex needed. Who needs complicated surgery and science when you have Dr. Darkseid, the cardiologist?
But does FrankenLEX get to do anything cool? Nope. He really just has time to have a conversation with Clark where he pretty much says they will always be enemies and...yup, more talking while a giant red, volcanic planet barrels down toward them. This is the time and place for a reunion, I'm sure. Way to save the world guys, buy delaying doing anything so you could get your mutual arch-nemesis speech on.
Anyways, after that round of talking, Lex goes back to LutherCorp to have yet another long conversation with Tess—I mean, Loutessa—or however the hell you spell that horrible-ass name. You figure it out, because I don't want to waste my time. More talking, talking, talking, and Lex stabs her with a knife. Oops. My bad. Not that good at showing brotherly love are you Lex...or is that really short for Lextessa? But Tessa is a Luther, so she smears silver paint on him and suddenly all of his memories are erased, yay! Yup, you read that right! Lex forgets EVERYTHING!!!
So—for those who don't get the implications of this—the show about the friendship between Clark and Lex, and how it soured into the greatest rivalry of all time, basically, in a nutshell, in effect, just discounted every little, f***ing thing that had ever happened since Lex hit Clark with his car in the first episode of season one. Now, Clark is no one to Lex, and Lex has no memory of who he is. So why the hell were watching this show for ten years!!
Now some people think that this memory loss meant redemption for Lex and all his evils, that he could start anew in life. Wrong. At the end of the show, in the near future there's a poster of Lex for President, which is exactly what happened in the comics. Lex ran for and won the presidency and was—guess what—still a bad guy all along. So the show is basically saying that Lex is inherently an evil bastard even without memories of his father or the influence of his father in his life—now that zombie Lionel is gone. The only reason I can see why the writers did this was to explain why Lex doesn't remember Clark's identity and if that's the case, its the worse explanation ever. It's the equivalent of needing a reason for a person to be delayed from crossing the street so you write in a nuclear bomb that obliterated the entire city, so that one person couldn't cross a street. But in the end, the concussion blast propels the man to the other side of the street anyway. Understand my problem with it?
So those are my feelings on the season finale of Smallville. The series finale, like the show, lived well past its prime and dragged on unnecessarily It may have had some good moments, but the bad ones so thoroughly outshone those brief pinpricks of light in the faded and distant galaxy of the past that I can't recall any of them, and hence, they do not count. The only merit the season finale had was a laugh factor. Things were so bad you could not help but make fun of them. Smallville, you were once a great concept that was beaten to death repeatedly, not by myself, but by writers and producers not willing to give up while they were ahead.
What surprises me most about the season finale is that some people—even some old G-POP writers/founders—actually found the series finale to be of some merit, dare I say, even good. While I can't imagine what show they were really watching when they thought they were watching Smallville, but I am very curious to find out. Gauntlet thrown; anyone want to pick it up?
For more of Ismael's rants about Smallville, check out: